A moment to ponder ... Jobe Watson after winning the Brownlow. Photo: Paul Rovere
10.58pm - Scott Spits: An impressive looking leaderboard. Watson (30) led the way strongly but there were some late charges. Cotchin (26) finished with a bullet (11 votes in the final four rounds) to claim equal second. Mitchell (26), likewise, had a strong second half of the season. Scott Thompson (25) polled the most votes ever by any Adelaide player while Dane Swan (25) might rue those missed games due to a club-imposed suspension. Gary Ablett (24) surprisingly faded to finish sixth after looking like a serious threat to take the Brownlow away from Watson.
Adelaide's Rory Sloane with partner Belinda Riverso on the red carpet. Photo: Paul Rovere
10.51pm: Nice performance from Jobe on stage while being interviewed by Bruce. Well spoken. Thanking all the right people. No surprise he's Essendon's captain. He admits he was hugely relieved after he bolted to the lead and hung on to win.
10.41pm: The official finishing margin is four votes with Watson (30) with Mitchell and Cotchin (both 26) tying for second spot. Watson managed only four votes in his final nine games but such was his stunning start to the season, he couldn't be caught.
10.37pm: JOBE WATSON wins! With two rounds still to be counted, the Bombers skipper has an unbeatable lead. Channel Seven even delays the rest of the count to conduct an oh-so-brief interview with Watson. It's just a matter of time now before Demetriou concludes the final rounds and Watson is saluted on stage.
Gary Ablett is interviewed by former teammate Cameron Ling during the count. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo
10.21pm: Closing stages are fast approaching. Twenty rounds down. Watson (30) gets one vote in defeat to North Melbourne. Ablett (23) and Mitchell (23) are still in contention with three rounds to be counted. Exciting stuff. Would be amazing if the Bombers captain gets beaten from here. Mitchell picked up three votes in round 20 to continue his strong finish to the season. Ablett capable of polling at least six votes in final three votes. We'll know about Ablett and Mitchell very soon with Hawthorn and Gold Coast clashing in round 21. Mitchell not expected to poll but Ablett in the running for minor votes.
10.13pm: Round 18. More intrigue. Just one vote to Gazza for another good game, this time a big loss to the Swans. Watson doesn't get near the votes in Essendon's massive defeat to Hawthorn. Ablett's one vote sees him move up to outright second spot, one vote ahead of Thompson (21). Mitchell (20) easing his way up and now in outright fourth spot.
10.08pm: Round 17 a landmark round. Gary Ablett (21) picks up another best-on-ground to move within five votes of Watson (26), who didn't poll during Essendon's big loss to Geelong. Scott Thompson didn't poll and is on level pegging with Ablett. Here comes the Ablett steam train.
9.53pm: There seems to be only three men who can take home Charlie with seven rounds to be counted: Watson, Ablett and Thompson. Dane Swan (15 votes) is polling well but competing with Beams and Pendlebury for attention from the umpires. Ablett is a huge threat to Watson. He is getting the three-voters when many observers thought that wasn't possible.
Brownlow Red Carpet 2012
Carlton footballer Marc Murphy with partner Jessie Haberman. Photo: Wayne Taylor
9.40pm: Brownlow count has reached a fascinating stage. Watson (26 votes after 16 rounds) is flying but he can be caught. Cotchin and Mitchell are making slow progress up the leaderboard. Ablett has 18 votes and certainly can win. Likewise, Scott Thompson (21) is well within striking distance. Sit down and hold on tight.
9.30pm: Thirteen rounds counted and there's three big contenders from here: Jobe Watson, Scott Thompson and Gary Ablett. Watson (23) is flying with 23 votes but who can forget Essendon's fall from grace in the second half of the season. Ablett (15) has five BOGs to his name. He has defied the critics who said umpires wouldn't recognise such great individual games in defeat. Simply stunning. Thompson (15) has been methodical and was consistent across the season.
9.19pm: Here's the feel-good story of the night. Jason Blake polls Brownlow votes! After more than 190 AFL games, the utility breaks through. And what a way to do it. Not content with a solitary vote, the big Saint manages two votes against Gold Coast in round 11. For those trivia buffs out there ... he held the record for the most AFL games without managing a vote. Jobe Watson with 20 votes after 11 rounds.
The main course served up at the Brownlow count.
9.15pm: Heard of this bloke Watson? 19 votes after 10 votes. Gary Ablett (12) looms again with more votes earned. Rory Sloane a bolter for Adelaide. Seems he may be taking votes away from Dangerfield and Thompson.
9.07pm: We've got a massive bolter. Jobe Watson with 17 votes after only nine rounds! He's got the halfway betting (or after round 10) all locked up. Host Bruce McAvaney wisely points out that young Jobe has already matched his father Tim with the most votes he received in a single year. I know it's early (and the Bombers faded badly) but, gee, Watson will be hard to pip from this point. Stanton (13) and Scott Thompson (12) are the others that stand out on the leaderboard.
8.59pm: Things have livened up in Sydney. Josh Kennedy and his partner have been interviewed. The star midfielder explains that he only met his Colombian girlfriend in January. They met on a set of an AFL advertisement. She says the instructions she received tonight were to 'wear formal'.
8.51pm: Massive mover after seven rounds. One of the hot favourites Jobe Watson already has 13 votes. We knew he started well but he's firing on all cylinders. Interestingly, Brent Stanton is outright second on 11 votes.
8.48pm: Demetriou is having usual fun with names. Nahas a real favourite for him. No surprise to see Dane Swan take home the three votes in the Anzac Day win over Essendon. Perhaps the most dominant game of the year.
8.38pm: The Swans are a pretty reserved bunch up in Sydney. Barely a move whenever anyone gets a vote. Appears to be a hastily-organised room for them. Maybe the lunch room for Swans staff. Someone let me know ...
8.34pm: Look out. Gary Ablett with nine votes after three rounds! That's three best on ground efforts in three defeats. What about that theory that he can't win because he won't get top votes in losing sides ...
8.28pm: Demetriou has hurried through the first two rounds. Stunning pace. If he keeps this up, we'll be done by 9.30pm and the after-party will be over by midnight. Anyway, we've got a couple of bolters: Sydney's Josh Kennedy with six votes already.
8.20pm: Good evening folks and welcome to our 2012 Brownlow coverage. Sit back, relax and get ready to pop the champagne corks whenever someone from GWS gets a vote.
8.11pm - Jenna Clarke - Thanks for joining us on the 2012 blue carpet which was full of bumps, breasts and brawny men. Now here's Scott Spits who'll take you through the official Brownlow Medal count.
8.07pm While the dresses are a mix of ivory, loud colours and lady like lace the hair and make up trends are just as varied - Veronica Lake finger waves, polished top knots and loose waves are all popular while the skin on show is shiny paired with simple make up. These trends obviously don't apply to Brynne who is a lovely shade of grapefruit with hair higher than Bill Gates' IQ.
7.41pm A favourite of the Zhivago ladies is Buddy Franklin, "What a cutie! We just want to smoosh his face he looks so cute in this suit!!! Love the bow tie! And the skinny pant. Work it Buddy!"
7.38pm Lara and Lydia crown wife of Fremantle's Aaron Sandilands, Jenny as the best- dressed-WAG-with-a-bun-in-the-oven. "The pregnant women are rocking the red carpet tonight, looking very classy, especially Jenny Sandilands. The print accentuates her baby bump in a beautiful way, and the couple matching is very cute. She is glowing."
7.34pm Breanna Bartlett (daughter of Richmond great Kevin) missed the "red carpet situation" memo according to Lara and Lydia, "We hope she got a last minute invite, because otherwise this dress is a terrible effort, way too casual. If it's floor length (it’s too short) and if she glammed it up with a major necklace she could have made it work. Cute that he brought his daughter, but next time he should spring for a fancier dress. Thanks Dad."
7.24pm The Zhivago designers give props to Lauren Gear - partner of North Melbourne's Scott Thompson: "STUNNING! And you can tell she feels stunning in this dress too. The cap sleeve is beautiful, she’s nailed this whole look. So Hollywood glamour."
7.18pm "All up, the Brownlows have not been as flesh flashing as they have been in the past... Maybe people are starting to realise that class and elegance class goes further than headline grabbing flesh," Lara adds.
7.15pm Zhivago designers Lara Kovacevich and Lydia Tsvetnenko applaud Belinda Riverso for her red and racy number: "Stunning. Beautifully made dress. Great look overall".
7.01pm Alex Perry and Peter Morrissey on Arena's Footy Fashion Police should send themselves to jail - since when did "black tie" mean "socks optional"?
7.00pm Queen of the WAGs Rebecca Judd has brought her A-game with a white Toni Maticevski form fitting frock she borrowed from Judy Jetson.
6.55pm Felicity Harley rocking the "pregnant bride" look completed by an Alex Perry white embellished gown, wedding up 'do and baby bump.
6.50pm Alex Perry says this year's blue carpet is showcasing "the trend of the tit and bridal wear".
6.48pm Mum of Melbourne's Jack Trengove is bang on Brownlow trend this year wearing a white, lacy number.
6.39pm Partner of Melbourne's Nathan Jones Jerri Hewitt looks like a hot pink Sharpie highlighter in her one shouldered gown.
6.25pm ex-Packed to the Rafters star and partner of Crow's Scott Thompson, Jessica McNamee, wearing custom Manning Cartell, admits she doesn't know anything about the sport and can't rate her boyfriend's chances. She likes his biceps that's about all she knows right now.
6.20pm Several Jessica Rabbit-esque strapless, red gowns have walked in. One particular women wearing said look had to Google who that was.
6.17pm Carlton's Heath Scotlands partner Alisha, channelling Florence Welch, is sporting the only volume we've seen this year (apart from baby bumps) with a full length black and white tulle skirt and bodice.
6.14pm Nic Naitanui's girlfriend Elle Demasi feels comfortable at her first Brownlow thanks to her slate coloured Aurelio Costarella cap sleeved gown and because she shared a hairstylist with Rebecca Judd.
6.07pm Brownlow favourite Jobe Watson's partner Ella has played it safe in a classic black Alex Perry as has fellow Medal contender Sam Mitchell's girlfriend who is in head to toe black.
6.02pm Richmond's Ivan Maric and his mullet have arrived, surprisingly he's come with a partner, Erin - who looks A.stunning in a beige column dress with embellished epaulettes and B. annoyed that her boyfriend's hair is getting more air time than her.
5.58pm Collingwood's Scott Pendlebury and partner Alex Davies are head to toe in Versace and look like Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley back when Liz was famous for the safety pin dress.
5.52pm "Ladies, forget the hand bags, baby bumps are the best accessory this year," Alex Perry said to Renee Enright who is four weeks away from giving birth - she's wearing a skin tight stark white frock made by a Geelong designer.
5.49pm Brynne Edelsten and her shiny disco balls have arrived! She's wearing a "Barbie meets Lady Gaga" mirror plated bodice and short tulle skirt which was made by her designer friend who used to make collections but now just "does one of pieces".
5.45pm Western Bulldogs player Ryan Griffens and his partner Lauren are a colour popping couple on the blue carpet. Lauren chose her neon orange Silvana Tedesco gown because she's always blended into the background and this year wants to stand out.
5.41pm Roving reporter Jesinta Campbell is looking for “class, sophistication and elegance when it comes to a red carpet” - she's wearing a dress with the split so high Angelina Jolie's right leg would blush.